Summary: Explains what is meant by repentance
A. If there is no repentance, there can be no pardon. Some years ago a murderer was sentenced to death. The murderer’s brother, to whom the State was deeply indebted for former services, besought the governor of the State for his brother’s pardon. The pardon was granted, and the man visited his brother with the pardon in his pocket. “What would you do,” he said to him, “if you received a pardon?” “The first thing I would do,” he answered, “is to track down the judge who sentenced me, and murder him; and the next thing I would do is to track down the chief witness, and murder him.” The brother rose, and left the prison with the pardon in his pocket.
B. Because of what this man had done, death penalty was waiting on him. The opportunity was granted to him, but it called for repentance. Since there could be no repentance, there also could be no pardon.
C. Therefore I want us today to focus our minds on repentance. I want to challenge us to think about three concepts pertaining to repentance:
a. The Description of Repentance
b. The Evidence of Repentance
c. The Motives for Repentance
I. THE DESCRIPTION OF REPENTANCE
A. What repentance is not?
1. Some think that when a person knows he is a sinner and feels guilty, he has repented. In Acts 26 we are told that Paul preached to a certain king named Agrippa, who was very sinful. Paul made him aware of his sin but there is no evidence in the Bible or history that he ever turned to God.
2. There are others who say that repentance is being afraid (to die, of God, or future, or hell). But repentance is not just being afraid. One another occasion Paul preached to a governor named Felix. "As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”" (Acts 24:25, NIV). He was afraid, but never found it convenient for 2 years (24:26-27).
3. Still others say that sorrow is being sorry for your sins. The Bible says that godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Cor 7:9-10). But if it leads to, that means that is not it (repentance).
B. What is repentance?
1. First, let’s look at the meaning of the word “repentance.” The word repentance in the Bible is translated from the Greek word “metanoia (ìåôÜíïéá) and means “afterthought, change of mind, repentance” (Vines)
2. Second, let’s look at some words used in the Bible to describe it.
a. Turned – Acts 9:35
b. Repent – Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22
c. Return – 1 Sam 7:3
d. Conversion – Acts 15:3
3. So, repentance is changing, a turning, a returning and a conversion of mind and life in connection to sin.
II. THE EVIDENCE OF REPENTANCE
A. Many people may claim to have repented. Many people may claim that they repent. Most people regret “being caught”, but that does not necessarily mean they have repented.
B. What are some of the evidences of repentance?
1. Godly sorrow – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.
a. One may be sorry that he or she is caught in something. This is human sorrow.
b. True repentance is prompted by godly sorrow. A sorrow that you have violated the holiness of God with your actions, words and / or thoughts.
2. Reformation of life – Luke 3:7-14.
a. John called people to a change of actions, a reformation of life.
b. He called…
1) Religious leaders to evidence “fruits of repentance” in their lives.
2) People to be compassionate (10-11)
3) Tax-collectors not to require more that they were to (12)
a) Not extort money (take by force)
b) Not accuse falsely (taking again from them)
c) To be content with their “sale” (Latin for salt)
3. Restitution – Luke 19:1-10.
a. People did not like tax-collectors because they were unfair and charged more to people.
b. But when Jesus touched the heart of Zacchaeus, he was willing to make restitution. “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” (Luke 19:8)
c. And Jesus commended the man for this when he said: “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10).
d. Zacchaeus was lost and was willing to make the restitution to be found.
III. THE MOTIVES FOR REPENTANCE
A. Change is not something we like. It speaks to our ego and tells us that we are not right. In order to overcome our ego, we need to have strong motives for it.